The Black Pit of Dr. M (★★1/2)

A Mexican horror film from 1959 akin to the old Universal monster movies. “The Black Pit of Dr. M” has no big selling point really, a part from being a well-made horror film of its era.

What shocked me the most was the attention to story and detail that many monster movies of that era neglected. Some shots reminded me of shots in “Citizen Kane.” It was expertly made and I’m glad to have experienced it.

Happy Face (★★)

“Happy Face” has me torn. I’m so glad a film like this exists. Director Alexandre Franchi (Wild Hunt) was in attendance and spoke after in his Q& A how the script was modified throughout production to adjust to the real-life stories of the characters.

All characters and actors in real life, struggle with different facial abnormalities. It’s a film that let’s you take a harder look at beauty and a nuanced look at the human condition. Something about the overall pace though didn’t sit right with me. It felt like it went on a tad too long, and the unfortunate side of the script changes left some of the subplots feeling detached.

The Death of Dick Long (★★1/2)

Daniel Scheinert (Swiss Army Man) directs quite a film here. He was in attendance along with Ari Aster (Hereditary, Midsommar). This film takes you on quite a ride – an unexpected one too.

Unfortunately its peak (film I can’t reveal too much of the plot too without spoiling) so I won’t. I enjoyed it so much. The blend of comedy/drama was exquisite even has things took a sharp turn in the second half. I heard a range of reactions for this one, so it will be divisive, but definitely give it a try.

The Colour of Space (★★★)

Probably my favorite of the festival so far. Another independent film starring Nicolas Cage that deals with something out of this world. Don’t worry, he goes full Cage often, but the overall story (inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s book) is handled with such grace.

What sold me on it was the sheer imagery. The practical, organic effects, the music, the mood. This was an incredible, yet disturbing experience that I’ll remember for some time.